Beer threesome plan series of Sidmouth concerts

PUBLISHED: 13:37 25 February 2011

Beer musician Chris Gradwell

Beer musician Chris Gradwell

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Jazz, poetry and acting treats in store this year at Sidmouth Cellar Bar venue

Rowland Molony (left) and John Torrance, Beer duo in concert at Sidmouth

BEER musician Chris Gradwell chooses his words carefully.

“It usually starts in the pub,” he says. “That’s where we plan our show. We kick a few ideas around, stare into space, then one of us kicks off with, Wouldn’t it be a good idea if we .....And then we’re away.”

He’s talking about his collaborations. Lots of them over the years since he came to live in Beer. He’s not a word man, really, Chris. His world is music. He’s spent his life as a professional musician playing saxophone and clarinet in Lloyd Webber’s shows, on film scores, and for the BBC.

These days the collaboration comes about with fellow Beer residents Rowland Molony and John Torrance. Poets, both of them.

“I suggest some music I’d like to play. That gives them a direction for the words. Or else one of them will talk about some recent writing they’ve been doing, and that gives me ideas for music to accompany it. We devise some bits of theatre, and suddenly, we’ve got a show.”

All three happen to live in the same Devon village with the brief but memorable name of Beer. So far the roadshow has taken them to far flung corners of the county: remote village halls, country churches, pubs and basement bars.

What’s fired him up now is his plan for a series of six concerts in Kennaway House, Sidmouth throughout 2011.

They will run from March to November, the first of these on Sunday, March 27, an evening with Le Jazz Quartet. This features Andrew Daldorph on piano, Andrew Barrett on guitar and Mike Thorne, bass.

It will be an evening, says Chris, of the great classics of American jazz such as Pick Yourself Up, Blue Bossanova, and Charlie Parker’s Perhaps.

No poets on this occasion. The concert after that, on May 14, will be a mixed fare, poets, actors and musicians – and a singer, Kate Walker.

“Yes, mixed in with the music, there’ll be some taste of theatre, a few brief and, we hope, amusing sketches. Our local character-actor Wally Cotgrave is going to be involved in that and the jazz this time will reflect the poems.

“We’re aiming to provide lively entertaining evenings. Some purely music, some with poetry and theatre.”

Bookings for the first two concerts can by made by calling 07583 796855 or by emailing glyn.holford@sky.com. Tickets are £7 and doors open at 6.45pm for 7.30pm start.

Future Sunday concerts will be held on August 28: Cabaret with Music Deco, with Kate Walker, vocals; September 25, October 30 and November 27.


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